Greenfield development projects are often defined by the need to be where the key resources are found.
Biomass feed stocks vary geographically and include a range of types and end uses. There are dedicated energy crops, typically herbaceous or short rotation woody species. Another source could be found from agricultural crops which produce our food products but often have considerable inedible waste streams that are by-products of growing and processing. Other sources include:
- Traditional forestry providing wood, wood wastes and residues all produced through harvesting and processing long rotational woody crops
- Aquatic biomass which can be produced in the form of algae and other water based flora
- Municipal solid waste consists of residential, commercial, and other post-consumer waste – it contains a significant proportion of plant-derived organic material that constitutes a renewable energy resource
- Waste paper, cardboard, wood waste, and green waste are the main examples of MSW biomass, however separation of the waste provides challenges for optimizing this kind of feed.
Where there are biomass sources located remotely from other industrial infrastructure, transportation of the biomass for processing has a major impact on the cost, energy efficiency and life cycle effects of a project. Locating a project remotely but close to the biomass source may allow the high volumes of biomass required for a biofuel project to be cost effectively sourced while it may also reduce the land costs for a project and make the logistic challenges around the biomass supply manageable, economic and sustainable.
The green field development of a biomass to liquid fuels plant necessitates a diligent site selection process and a self sufficient, standalone processing operation. This helps to offset the need for constructing expensive utility services to operate the site, although transport infrastructure would still be required.
With appropriate feedstock management and preparation of the biomass as well as including a hydrogen plant and additional boiler in the capital costs, sufficient heat and power can be generated to service the needs of a green field based biomass conversion plant.